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Earlier this week I got caught out by the SNCF strikes when my train was cancelled, and ended up with an unexpected night in Paris. I've had a chat with my (expensive but fairly generous) travel insurance provider, and they've said it's likely that they'll cover the extra costs incurred, less anything I get from SNCF.

As per this question on the Garantie Ponctualité and cancellations, I know that cancellations mean that the Garantie Ponctualité doesn't automatically apply, but that it's possible that they'll offer something anyway. So, I've fought with the online claim form, including having much fun with the form insisting on receiving a French phone number to submit no matter what country you say you're from (luckily it finally took all zeros!), and I've submitted a claim to SNCF.

Ideally I'd like to submit the travel insurance claim soon, while the details are all still fresh in my mind, but the insurance company have said I can't do that until I know how much, if any, SNCF will contribute. So, that leaves me to wonder - what is the typical response time for SNCF to claims through their Réclamation en ligne system?

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2 Answers 2

It seems the answer for requests submitted online is under a week.

On Wednesday 18th June I submitted two requests online, one for a journey which was delayed, one for a journey which was cancelled due to the strike. On Friday 20th I received a response to my cancelled train request, denying it due to the strike. On Monday 23rd I received a response to my delay request, asking for bank details to proceed with the claim.

Interestingly, an online request I sent Programme Voyageur (SNCF Fidélité) team took a while longer, that took about 2 weeks for a response.

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I have no other reference than my own experience. I filled the online form or sometimes sent the envelope they give when the train is late. The process seems relatively automated, I suppose they check manually only cases like yours, but it still takes time.

Over the 5 to 10 times I filed such complaints, I usually waited 1 to 2 months. I would say that as your case is not straightforward, you might need to call them and argue your situation. In any case, I would recommend you to start the process as early as possible with the travel insurance, and if they need any proof I would say print the result of the form you linked (I expect once you give your file reference and name, they tell you what refund you may receive).

As your train was cancelled because of a strike, if they do not give you anything for your hotel, I would recommend you to go to any station and ask for a refund of your ticket at least. Be careful, you have 60 days to do so.

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